8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An old school film helps a healthy heart,
This review is from: A Piece of the Action (DVD)
"Gentlemen, I want to be fair and relieve your minds. Neither of you knows what my business with the other one is. Therefore you are safe from each other. This is confidential. Trust me."
- Joshua Burke (James Earl Jones)
Well, this movie is more mainstream than the typical blaxploitation due to the stardom of Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier, "A Piece of the Action" was the third and last pairing of this sequel. The film's plot is quite weak but the charm is still there. Charming crooks Dave Anderson (Cosby) and Manny Durrell (Poitier) are high-class con men who have never run afoul of the law. Joshua Burke (James Earl Jones) is a retiring detective with enough evidence on the both of them to put them behind bars. He offers to maintain his silence if the crooks will go straight and do work at a youth center for delinquents. Thus our story line kicks off but goes nowhere fast. At first, the crooks are reluctant and unwilling (and so are the kids). As time goes by, trust and admiration is exchanged (as well as cold cash) and progress is made to get jobs for the kids.
The film walks a difficult path between comedy and social commentary but feels very comfortable to watch. Some of the dialogue is over done but others are truly heartwarming...I teared up twice on different occasions. Poitier trades on his performance as the school teacher who brings a London East End class to life in To Sir, With Love. Cosby's performance leans more toward his films that bombed, with mostly unrelated mugging and schtick making up his performance, that hopefully is improvised. Denise Nicholas as Lila French and Tracy Reed as Manny's girlfriend Nikki portray there roles quite well. A very young Sheryl Lee Ralph appears as one of the "delinquents," Barbara, and has a very dynamic scene in which she demands more respect from the instructors.
Close to the middle of this film do look for Poitier's older brother Cyril as the janitor of the youth center, Mr. Theodore, and soon-to-be star of television's What's Happening - The Complete First Season!!, as Raj, Earnest Thomas. The charm of the actors is really the best part of A Piece of the Action, and it shines despite the poor quality of the script. Another positive aspect of the film is the potent score by Superfly composer Curtis Mayfield, which also features singer Mavis Staples on some songs. It is good, clean, wholesome comedy. If you're from this era the memories will hit you strongly from the clothing, music; even to the "language."
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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 6, 2008 8:27:08 PM PST
James E. Egolf says:
Again, Miss Jenny strikes with another solid review.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2008 9:06:39 PM PST
And again James you have spoil me with your good wishes.
Posted on Mar 7, 2008 7:10:54 AM PST
Sounds cool sweetness. J Jones is a baaaad man. He'd be like the grandpa you don't wanna upset or disappoint.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2008 7:36:26 AM PST
This film is probably worth taking another look at just because of the exciting duo Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier. Based on your review it also looks quite entertaining in it's simplicity with alot of charm and many laughs...Poitier playing a con is defeinitely worth it!.. And you're saying Mayfield made another brilliant score for this one? I need to take a sneak peak at the soundtrack then :-) Great and informative review Jenny...and finally something in English :-). PS. I see you only have 500 votes to go to reach 10.000. Here's one from me. You'll soon be there!.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2008 8:15:24 AM PST
D. Wilson says:
Some say Bill Cosby rode Jello Pudding Pops all the way to superstardom... but people like you and I know differently don't we Jenny LOL!? Have to keep an eye out for this, never even heard of it before today? Thanks for another great review, catch up with you soon...
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2008 9:18:17 AM PST
O Hell yeah Chris J. Jones tone voice ALONE would scare the crap out of you and he was naturally good in this. I need to see more of his earlier films because I haven't acknowledge him as much as I should so I'll look around, thanks Mr. Criterion.
Hey Music Lover, very funny. This movie is mighty fine and yes in English. After all those challenging films I encountered this week it was much needed. The entire plot of this movie was predictable but the message was quite positive. I haven't entirely listen this films Score but I read its not a disappointment and it will be great to read your views on it. I would never have thought I would near 10,000 votes and that is something that I'm grateful for, thanks for the compliment and your support Joe! *This also applies to everyone of course.*
Thanks for catching up on all of my recent reviews D. I love those Jello Pudding Pops commercials and they were so good too. Oh Man what was that famous quote Cosby use to say throughout his commercial?........ "Who put there hands on my Jello Pudding Pop?" ......that probably sounded pathetic but I don't remember. I hope someone will correct me on it. Thanks again.
Posted on Mar 7, 2008 10:20:35 AM PST
Nice job again. These films bring back great memories from my childhood - my mom loved these two (Cosby and Poitier). You are so correct, they may not be the finest films ever produced, but they do have that certain something that most films today lack - CHARM! Just like you my friend.
Always enjoy reading your reviews.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2008 11:12:15 AM PST
Thanks Joey D. It's great that I managed to bring out some of those thoughtful moments for you and I remember you enjoyed watching these two actors with my previous review. Your pretty suave Joey and I thank you for your wonderful comments.
Posted on Mar 7, 2008 4:28:18 PM PST
very nice review, milady. Sorry I've been a bit out of circulation lately, I usually see your reviews right away, so busy and I've been working while I'm sick with a cold. Anyway, your review is excellent as always, gosh, you're making want to type a new review LOL.
Take care, milady.
Posted on Mar 7, 2008 5:43:13 PM PST
THE GHOST says:
Hey Jen nice review as always. My cavewoman wife tried to rent this once and it didn't play. She was just too primitive to check for scratches. Made me mad as he11 cause I like J. Jones. Oh Well, anywho... Yeh, you did the right thing passing on Blood The Last Vampire. That anime is immortal garbage and it can easily turn someone away from anime in my opinion. Just check out Ninja Scroll since I already know you enjoy action. Also check out Grave of the Fireflies with that. That's a good little drama. Sad. But still good.